A ranked Maryland squad who is fighting for a Big Ten championship comes to the Barn this afternoon while the Gophers are trying to stop the bleeding of their 4-game losing streak.
The Terps' only Big Ten loss of the year is a 2-point home loss to Nebraska, other than than they've put themselves in a great position with a 6-1 conference record as their schedule begins to toughen up. Despite their 18-2 record, the KenPom numbers are not really loving the Terps this year. 18-2 overall, ranked 22nd in the country yet they have a KenPom rank of 47th, two spots behind the Gophers at 45th. Does that leave the door open for the struggling Gophers to get a nice win over a ranked team?
Keys to a Gopher Win
Offensive Rebounds - Maryland stinks at defensive rebounding. In their most recent game against Rutgetrs they gave up nearly 45% of Scarlet Knight missed shots back to Rutgers! Nebraska got over 45% in their upset win over Maryland. With our bigs and some help from the wings, we can get a lot of second chances. We may need them all.
Force Turnovers - Not a particular strength of ours but once again, this is an area of weakness for Maryland. They turn it over over 20% of the time and rank 280th nationally in this metric. Turnovers leading to easy baskets would be really helpful. Get 3 or 4 easy baskets from turnovers combined with 3 or 4 easy baskets on offensive rebounds and that's several possessions where we don't have to worry about execution on offense.
Get to the Line and Make Them - What we do best and it needs to happen today on our home floor. Get to the paint, get fouled and make the free throws. The first two keys are about taking advantage of Maryland weaknesses, this is about us. This is what we do well and we need to do it.
Another matchup where I think the Gophers will play well and this game should be close. Considering our recent streak, I'm not confident we'll win. I'll say Maryland wins by 4.